Florence Rachel (Lagore) Rouse




Florence Rachel (Lagore) Rouse, (1973 photo) belonged to the UFWA and the UCW, and did a great deal of work for the community.

Florence Rachel Lagore was born in Logan, Ohio on August 29, 1890, to George and Susannah Lagore. The family came from Ohio to Lacombe North West Territory via an immigrant train in 1900. They traveled in the passenger car on the same train as the box car that contained their stock, machinery, household furniture, and whatever else they wanted to bring. Arriving in Lacombe, they moved to a bare piece of land north of Bentley called a Homestead. They had much hardship getting to this land through mud and bog and had to leave some of their belongings behind along the way. Their first house was built in one day. It consisted of one room from rough lumber with a sod roof that always leaked when it rained on most afternoons. That sufficed as their home until they got better logs, hewed them smooth and made a four room house with boards for a roof. The first school Florence (Flossie) attended was a country school between Bentley and Rimbey and the children walked three miles each way, summer and winter, as they did not have anything to drive. There were seven children: Arthur (the oldest) stayed in the USA, but Jim, Mary, Florence, Earl, Pete and Bob all came to Canada with their parents. Twins, Hannah and Susannah had died with whooping cough when they were only a few months old.

In 1905, the family moved to Alix and started a restaurant where the Nelson Hotel later stood (north of the lumber yard). Florence and her sister, Mary, did the cooking did the cooking, waiting on tables, and the dishes. The Todds, McDermands, Bonhams and Sandersons are just a few of the families that came in to eat. This is where Florence met Charles Rouse. It was that fall in 1905 when the first CPR train went through to Stettler and they all went out to greet it. On March 27, 1907, she married Charles Rouse on his father's farm. Their honeymoon consisted of going to Stettler and moving into a new home that Charles and his father, Louis, had built for them.

In the spring of 1908, they heard things were booming in Montana and moved there. However they were disillusioned as times were tough. Myrle Ann was born on June 16, 1908, in Glasgow, Montana and when she was only three months old they moved back to Stettler. The women came by train, and Louis and Charles by horse and wagon and sometimes on foot alongside their outfit as they hit blizzards and various elements.

They were in Stettler seven years and during that time two sons were born: Glen William on April 5, 1910 and Frederick Gordon on May 8, 1914. In 1915, they moved back to the farm south of Alix, and lived there thirty more years until 1945 when Charles fell ill. They milked cows, made butter, raised pigs and chickens for meat and eggs. Florence was glad to say good-bye to the washboard when she got her first washing machine in 1915. She was known for her home baking especially her bread and buns. They also picked fruit in the bushes and on the river banks, lugging pails of saskatoons, chokecherries, pincherries, cranberries and raspberries.They grew big gardens with lots of vegetables and potatoes and made ice cream every weekend for Sunday family dinners. Winter nights were spent reading, playing cards, and Charles was talented on both the violin and organ so they would sing and dance, and he taught Myrle the organ and Glen the violin. Three daughters were born during this time on the farm: Oletta Margaret on January 21, 1917 (died February 25, 1917 from consumption, pneumonia, a very sad time for the family), Ethel Etta on October 4, 1918 and Ruby Winona on November 22, 1920. They held church out of their kitchen, and were a family of very strong faith. When Charles became ill in 1923 with the Spanish flu, it was their faith in God and prayers that carried them through and healed Charles.

In 1945, they moved into Alix due to Charles's failing health (found later to be bone cancer) and Florence nursed him at home for 2 years until just before his death on November 28, 1947. She continued living in her own home on Lake Street for another 26 years after he died, keeping busy with the things she knew and loved best: her family and friends; she belonged to the UFWA and the Alix UCW working and baking for many banquets, weddings, funerals, etc, with those members. She never missed a Sunday church service unless she was ill, and did a lot of baking (especially her delicious buns) and serving lunches for the volunteer workers tearing down the old Alix United Church and building the new one.

In the late 1940s and the 1950s she took in boarders to help with her finances as well as to have their company in a lonely house. She enjoyed them all and even had the music teacher from near Ponoka come once a week to teach music lessons on her family piano. She loved working in her garden and raspberry patch and had a beautiful weed free garden and flower garden. Vivid memories of Grannie Rouse are the smell of freshly baked buns and better still eating them warm, and most of all her Faith. She was one of our early pioneers and endured many hardships throughout her life. Caring for many sick family and friends without the aid of close hospitals and antibiotics. Many who became very ill with the "Spanish Influenza" and "consumption (pneumonia) died, and she lost a baby daughter in 1917.

In 1927, he oldest son contracted Polio and spent almost a year in the University Hospital in Edmonton, and because it was so far away, they did not get up to visit very often. She knew what it meant to raise a family where the schools were primitive, living conditions were crude, and medical facilities were a long drive away ... the sleepless nights she must have spent nursing her children, family and friends through illnesses.

Her home was always a pleasant and hospitable place - and she was always ready with a cup of tea or coffee, a cookie and a kind word for a friend, neighbour, and anyone in need. She was always ready to baby sit if needed and she did a lot for her grandchildren as well as her great grandchildren.

During her long lifetime she developed a strong,deep faith and did a great deal for her church. Her open Bible was always on her kitchen table or her bed stand. A Scripture she often read to us was Psalm 128.

Florence passed away in hospital on September 30, 1973 at 83 years of age. She was a caring, loving person, who knew the struggles of life, and trusted God to carry her through, and He did. She was a very big part of our family and lives, and taught us how to treasure the truly important things in life.

We miss her very much.

Written by her Grand-Daughter, Twyla Sissons-Janssens (nee Rouse)